posted on September 15, 2015 16:22
Growing up in rural Mifflin County my family was far from well-to-do. My father had his own small business and I overheard many conversations between him and my mother on the continuing financial struggles they faced. I didn’t consider us “poor” because we couldn’t buy the newest clothes or toys, but I was aware that money was very tight. While my parents worried about the family budget, one thing that was always available was food. My only thought of hunger was being reprimanded to eat my lima beans because “there are starving kids in Africa who would love to have them”. I know I wasn’t the only child to hear that growing up. That was my perception of hunger.
After graduating from college and moving to Harrisburg, one of my first assignments was to cover the opening of a new soup kitchen in Harrisburg, Downtown Daily Bread. I was astounded to see people, lots of people, standing in line for a meal. This was totally foreign to me. I had no idea people right here in Harrisburg had no food and had to come to a soup kitchen for a meal. That sight, and their plight, changed me. I vowed to become involved and I began to volunteer my time to help others and do what I could to help those less fortunate.
Fast forward a few years (OK, maybe more than a few) and I began working at the Food Bank. Every day my work here at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank drives home how many people in central PA are struggling with hunger. I see and hear about hunger every day and I am still astounded by the sheer number of people seeking help. I recently visited a food pantry in Lancaster County and the board president of Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services told me most people living in their school district have no idea there are hungry people living there. I think this is true in most communities. Hunger is still “starving kids in Africa”, not kids living in our neighborhoods or seniors who are making tough choices to survive.
This is why the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank participates in Hunger Action Month activities and why we encourage you to get involved. We need everyone to know 1 in 7 people, and sadly 1 in 5 kids, are at-risk for hunger here in our communities. September is the time for everyone to come together and make a difference for those suffering the indignity of hunger. Change your Facebook page to orange. Write to your Congressman and ask for support of the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act of 2015. Conduct a food drive. Tell someone. Take action. Do something. You can make a profound difference in someone’s life.